Raquel Rolnik and Lucía Martín González
Having a Home: Rights vs. Market
Thursday 21 October, 6 pm to 7:30 pm
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the right to housing as one of the means of ensuring that everyone has a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their families. Despite being enshrined in many modern state constitutions, the logic of capitalism makes this fundamental right subordinate to the economic interests of private actors.
Raquel Rolnik (Sao Paulo, 1956) is an architect, urban planner and professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning in São Paulo (Brazil). She has held many institutional positions related to urban planning and housing policy in São Paulo and Brazil. From 2008 to 2014, she was the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing and undertakes a great deal of work in the field of education and activism. She is the author of the book Urban Warfare: Housing under the Empire of Finance (March 2019), among others.
Lucía Martín González (Lugo, 1979) is a chemical engineer and Doctor of Environmental Sciences. She has participated in activism in Terrassa and in 2009 formed part of the group promoting the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages in Barcelona. She has also worked extensively in the ‘right to housing’ movement. From 2016 to 2019, she was a member of the Congress of Deputies and is currently district Councillor for the Sant Andreu district and Housing and Renovation at Barcelona City Council.
Martha Rosler and Carles Guerra
Art and Denunciation: The Representation of Housing Unrest
Thursday, 11 November, 6 pm to 7.30 pm
Representation of the struggle for rights in the artistic sphere has been a constant throughout the history of democratic demands. In the case of housing, Martha Rosler is one of the leading international exponents, with a creative practice that aims to denounce, raise awareness and transform the policies that guarantee this fundamental right.
Martha Rosler (New York, 1943) is an artist, art critic and professor. She works in various formats – photography, video, essays, installations and performance, and is one of the most influential artists of her generation. Her work centres on the public sphere and the relationship it has with everyday life, with the mass media, conflicts, architecture and urbanism. One of the central themes of her work is reflection on the social implications of urban structures, always from a feminist and critical point of view.
Carles Guerra (Amposta, 1965), with a PhD in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona, is an artist, art critic, teacher, researcher and independent curator. He has been director of Primavera Fotogràfica de Catalunya (2004), La Virreina Centre de la Imatge (2009-2011) and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies (2015-2020) and has worked as head curator of the MACBA (2011-2015). He has curated numerous monographic exhibitions dedicated to renowned international artists such as Ahlam Shibli, Allan Sekula, Susan Meiselas, Harun Farocki, Oriol Vilanova and Ariella Aïsha Azoulay.
Barbara Steenbergen and Jaime Palomera
Against Dispossession: Housing Unionism and The Cooperative Movement
Thursday, 2 December, 6 pm to 7.30 pm
Innovative and creative capacity are not the prerogative of the public administrations and it will be hard for them to make the shift towards more emancipatory policies without a social and cultural transformation. Tenants’ unions have been around for over a century and are the main players in the fight for access to housing, building alternatives to the private market, such as cooperatives and fighting against gentrification.
Barbara Steenbergen has a degree in Public Administration and a Master’s in Political Sciences from the University of Bonn (Germany). Since 2007 she has been head of the International Union of Tenants’ (IUT) EU office in Brussels, an organisation that works to support tenants’ organisations worldwide. She is director of public relations, with a particular interest in influencing EU policy. She was Chair of the European Housing Forum (2009-2012) and is a member of the EU Urban Agenda working group on housing. She chairs the forum of the European Responsible Housing Initiative, among others.
Jaime Palomera (Barcelona, 1982) is an active member and joint spokesperson of the Sindicat de Llogaters i Llogateres (Tenants’ Union). He has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Barcelona, specialising in Political Economy and Housing and a Master’s in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths College, London. He currently works as a researcher at the Institute of Government and Public Policy at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and La Hidra Cooperativa, of which he is the co-founder.